The class of 2014 from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), which included 225 new Merchant Marine and Military Officers, graduated in Kings Point, New York on Saturday. Vice Admiral Michelle J. Howard, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans and Strategy, delivered the commencement address to over 2,300 graduates, family members and representatives from the federal government, U.S. military and maritime industry.
"America is a maritime nation," said Howard. "Throughout times of peace and war, the graduates of the Merchant Marine Academy have served their country well on the seas, in public and private service. It is a privilege to address the class of 2014. They will continue a tradition of excellence and uphold the motto 'Deeds, not Words'."
USMMA is one of the five federal service academies. The school is funded by the Department of Transportation and has a mission to educate and graduate licensed Merchant Marine officers. Graduates from USMMA receive a Bachelor of Science Degree, an unlimited merchant marine officer license from the United States Coast Guard, and an officer's commission in one of the branches of the military.
In return for the federal scholarship each graduate is required to choose to either serve as a Merchant Marine Officer while concurrently serving in any branch of the U.S. military in the reserves for five years, or serve five years of active duty in any branch of the U.S. military.
USMMA graduates ensure a steady stream of merchant marine officers who support the nation's economic and security requirements in times of peace and war.
"For over seventy years, the Academy has trained leaders for careers at sea while instilling the values that allow them to become outstanding leaders in the maritime industry, the military and their communities," said USMMA Superintendent, Rear Admiral James A. Helis. I am especially proud of these new maritime leaders and am certain that they will continue to make us proud as they embark on a lifetime of service."